15 FEBRUARY, 2023

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Chief Twit Elon Musk is what MTN wants to be: everywhere we go.

Days after complaining that not enough people were seeing his tweets, Elon now appears to be omniscient. No, really, one user reportedly saw Elon’s tweet more times in an hour than he saw the actual retweet button!

Twitter algorithm defeating a TechCabal editor

Over the weekend, Musk announced that the Twitter team was fixing a visibility problem, but it looks like they’ve now created one that’s just as big as Musk’s ego.

Meanwhile, if you’re a football fan, you may want to engage in severe atonement as Musk is considering buying football club Manchester United. If he succeeds, his magic touch could see the club become the new Chelsea.

CRYPTO MARKET

Bitcoin

$22,108

+ 1.74%

Ether

$1,548

+ 3.20%

BNB

$296

+ 1.56%

Solana

$21.58

+ 3.57%

Name of the coin

Price of the coin

24-hour percentage change

Source: CoinMarketCap

* Data as of 04:30 AM WAT, February 15, 2023.

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TELKOM PLANS LAYOFFS AMID PROFITABILITY ISSUES

Telkom is planning to cut its workforce

Yesterday, the company announced that it’s embarking on a restructuring process that will affect 15% of its 11,000 workers—about 1,650 people. 

In a statement shared on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange news service, the company said the changes will ensure the sustainability of the company. “As the Group manages the delicate migration of revenue between old to new technologies, it is challenged with managing the costs associated with the different technologies, the competitiveness and sustainability of the Group,” reads the statement.

This news comes right after the telco released its report for Q4 2022

The South African telco’s financial report revealed growth across many metrics but noted a profitability struggle. Subscribers have grown by 12.9% year-on-year to 18.6 million subscribers while mobile broadband customers are up 9.9% to 11.5 million, comprising almost 62% of active mobile customers.

While revenue is also up by 2.3% to R11 billion ($613 million), its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) are down 13.5% to R2.5 billion ($139 million). 

To address its profitability issues, the company announced that it would embark on “cost-saving programmes” which apparently include these layoffs. 

Telkom also announced plans to raise a further R1 billion ($56 million) by the end of FY2023 through the sale of qualifying device receivables to external financial institutions.

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NIGERIA’S CASH CRISIS’S SILVER LINING

Nigerians queued up at an unrepentant ATM

It’s a confusing time to be a Nigerian—even more than usual.

Months after the country’s apex bank announced a currency redesign and instituted a tight deadline for submission of old notes, Nigeria is experiencing a cash scarcity that’s leaving several citizens stranded.

While the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave February 10 as the deadline for use and submission of old notes, the country’s apex court, last week, granted an injunction preventing CBN from enforcing the deadline.

The CBN, however, seems to be ignoring the Supreme Court’s order. Yesterday, the apex bank warned commercial banks against further collection of old notes. CBN also directed all customers willing to deposit old notes to visit any of its branches.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that CBN is ready and is open to receive all of those old notes based on certain conditions and criteria. Customers are free to come to the bank and deposit which they cannot do at the commercial banks anymore because the currency has ceased to be a legal tender since the 10th of this month,” said CBN branch controller, Haladu Idris Andaza. 

Everyone is confused

Following the CBN’s footsteps, everybody from citizens to commercial banks is confused. 

Across Lagos state, some commercial banks like First and Access Banks are refusing deposits of the old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes, while others like Zenith Bank continue to collect.

A silver lining: If the country’s National Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) is to be believed, however, Nigeria’s cash crisis does have a silver lining. According to its latest report, mobile transactions in the country have spiked, with ₦2.37 trillion ($5.17 billion) transacted in January 2023, a 125% volume increase from the previous year. In addition, the value of POS transactions surged to ₦807.16bn ($1.76 billion) in January 2023, a 40.69% increase from the ₦573.72bn ($1.25 billion).

Looks like Nigeria’s financial system is taking “no pain, no gain” too literally.

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NIGERIA INVESTIGATES 110 COMPANIES FOR DATA BREACHES

Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner for the NDBP

Nigeria’s data protection authority Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) is investigating over 110 companies, including banks, telecom firms, and gaming companies, for data breaches. 

Those found guilty will face civil or criminal liability, and even the Nigeria Police Force is involved in the investigation.

The data controllers are also being investigated to check that they are performing due diligence while engaging data processors or vendors that have access to the personal data of customers. Inaction against or explicit data abuse and violation of the Nigeria Data Protection laws will constitute a civil or criminal liability and be punished accordingly.

On the bright side, the NDPB has licensed 48 additional Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCOs), bringing the total number of licensed companies to 138. Kenya is also getting in on the action, re-licensing digital lenders to protect customers from data-hungry loan sharks. Since 2022, it has only licenced 22 digital credit providers

Looks like licensing is the new sheriff in town when it comes to data abuse.

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GROVEST TO INVEST $56 MILLION A YEAR TO POWER SOUTH AFRICA

With rolling blackouts, weakened currency, and the declaration of a state of disaster, South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis has been nothing short of a nightmare. Grovest has announced the country’s first green private equity fund—Twelve B Green Energy Fund— which will deploy up to R1 billion ($56 million) annually to attempt to ease the country’s crisis and line investors’ pockets. 

Green is the way

Grovest, which reportedly has R3.5 billion ($197 million) in assets under administration, believes that the fund will not only help tackle the country’s energy crisis but also give investors opportunities to gain from tax deductions for using qualifying assets to generate renewable electricity. Investors can gain a full tax benefit on their investment under section 12B of the Income Tax Act.

The fund plans to achieve this by deploying up to R1 billion ($56 million) annually to invest in solar panels, inverters, and batteries in residential complexes, commercial buildings, and industrial buildings.

With the country being in its 13th consecutive month of power cuts and its economy estimated to be losing as much as R899 million ($50.1 million) per day due to the cuts, it seems like the fund couldn’t be more timely.

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IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL

Online vehicle rental company Treepz expands into Kenya.

An interview with Josué Vangu of Jovan Group on the startup scene in Lubumbashi.

Terraa raises $1.5 million pre-seed round to bring safe and affordable food to Africa.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The 100x Impact Accelerator is open to applications from impact-driven social enterprises that work across eight sectors including health, climate and education. Selected enterprises will receive £150,000 grants and access to LSE’s world-class expertise, plus a 12-week programme of bespoke support from experts and social unicorn founders. Register by March 10.
  • Do you have what it takes to become the next supplier to leading South African enterprises in the furniture sector? Apply for the 2023 eThekwini Furniture Cluster Acceleration Programme. Apply by February 28.
  • The Jasiri Talent Investor Programme is looking for highly driven individuals with a history of achievement and/or entrepreneurial action who aspire to launch a high-growth venture. Apply by April 23.
  • The Catalyst Fund makes grants between $2,500–$15,000 to anyone, anywhere in the world who has an early-stage idea or project that addresses pressing global challenges. Apply by February 28.
  • The Climate Finance Accelerator is a global technical assistance programme funded by the UK government to directly support climate projects to access finance. Apply by February 17, 2023.
  • The Growth Africa Accelerator Programme is calling for applications from ambitious and committed entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia or Ghana with the potential to grow and create impact through their businesses. Apply now.
  • Code for Africa is offering 4-6 month CivicTech fellowships for mid-career digital strategists, digital creators, technologists, data scientists and UX strategists/designers. Apply before February 19.
  • The African Development Bank’s Fashionomics Africa is seeking African fashion, textile, apparel and accessories entrepreneurs and businesses. Apply by February 22.
  • Applications are now open for the Nigeria Media Innovation Program’s (NAMIP’s) Sustainability Challenge. Winners will be awarded up to $50,000 for their project and join NAMIP’s innovation and capacity building program that extends up till 2024. Apply by February 28.

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Written by – Timi Odueso & Ngozi Chukwu

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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